Jai Wolf brings stuffed animals, EDM and purple Helvetica font to Digital Dillo

The album artwork for The Cure to Loneliness, Jai Wolf’s debut full-length album released last spring. Jai Wolf performed as one of three mainstage artists at Digital Dillo.

Courtesy Mayfest Productions

The album artwork for The Cure to Loneliness, Jai Wolf’s debut full-length album released last spring. Jai Wolf performed as one of three mainstage artists at Digital Dillo.

James Pollard, Campus Editor

As Jai Wolf took to the stage — his couch and coffee table — late Friday afternoon, he shared the space with a stuffed Snorlax. The Pokémon, notably, doesn’t do anything other than eat and sleep.

But Jai Wolf’s performance was hardly lethargic.

Jai Wolf is the moniker of Sajeeb Saha, the New York-based Bangladeshi EDM producer who delivered roughly 30 minutes of danceable remixes, complete with colorful filters, distorted video and the tactful use of purple Helvetica font to interact with the virtual audience.

Ten minutes into the set, a yellow hue overtook the screen while the video became wavy, as if Jai Wolf were a mirage created by the minds of quarantined students craving the concert experience.

With the beat about to drop during one song, the picture zoomed in on a stuffed animal located at the bottom right corner of the screen and the words “im scared” appeared.

As a remix of “Fix Me” by Dillon Francis played, one of Jai Wolf’s many typed messages appeared:

“Your friend megan loves dillon francis and if there wasn’t a pandemic she’d b lit off of 7 white claws going off on this one.”

During the question-and-answer session with Mayfest after the set, Saha discussed his heritage. He thought if he took a white or Christian stage name, he’d lose part of his identity, he said, adding that while he is Bangladeshi, he wanted to reflect Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage.

The difficulty of balancing two different cultures, Saha said, is an experience he thinks many children of immigrants have.

“As you get older and are looking to get back to your roots, talk to your parents, ask them questions, ask them about their entire history,” he said. “My parents, for example, have incredible stories from Bangladesh — just hearing what they went through growing up and immigrating here, I find it very fascinating.”

The producer, who named Lorde and “pre-MAGA” Kanye West as artists he’d love to collaborate with, said his streams have gone up during quarantine. The best way to support artists, he said, is to stream or buy their music.

When asked what new meaning his first and most recent album “The Cure to Loneliness” took amid self-isolation, Saha said it has always been about the album’s original meaning: “Music will just always be there.”

“No matter what, if you’re feeling lonely, if you’re feeling like you need something, some abstract concept to be there for you when people aren’t there for you, that’s the whole point of the album,” Saha said.

While he wishes an in-person festival could have happened, Saha said he would be “so down” to come back next year. He also gave a shout out to the Class of 2020, who he said makes him feel “super old” as a member of the Class of 2013.

Shortly after Jai Wolf’s set, Mayfest Productions posted a statement on Facebook, highlighting the Minnesota Freedom Fund, an organization fighting the state’s “unjust bail system and paying immigrant bonds,” as well as other organizations like Black Lives Matter, the Black Visions Collective and the Louisville Community Bail Fund, among others.

“Additionally, we encourage members of the Northwestern community to reflect on how their actions may perpetuate these systems and consider the steps that we can take to create a safer space for the BIPOC members of our community,” the message read.

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Twitter: @pamesjollard

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